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PACKERS BACKERS GAIN STEAM HEADING INTO THURSDAY GAME

After an impressive 3-0 start to the 2019 pro football season, Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers have jumped all the way to the top of William Hill’s NFC futures board.

Green Bay enters Thursday night’s marquee matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles (FOX- NFL Network, 8:20 p.m. ET) at 4/1 to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl (a 20% win equivalent). That’s tied with the defending conference champion Los Angeles Rams.

Have the Packers really impressed that much? Bettors must think so or William Hill wouldn’t be defending so hard against their action.

There is a sense that Green Bay can still get better as Rodgers gains more familiarity with new head coach Matt LaFleur. Frankly, it’s the defense that has been driving victories thus far…holding Chicago, Minnesota and Denver to 3, 16 and

16 points respectively. Rodgers and the sluggish offense have mixed occasional big plays with long dry spells.

If Green Bay is undefeated against a reasonably challenging schedule while ranking #28 in total offense and #13 in total defense, what’s going to happen when the Packers offense starts to percolate?

Here’s a look at William Hill odds for all the top

NFC contenders:

Packers

4/1 (20%)

Rams

4/1 (20%)

Cowboys

425 (19%)

Saints

7/1 (13%)

Bears

17/2 (11%)

Vikings

17/2 (11%)

Niners

17/2 (11%)

Eagles

12/1 (8%)

Seahawks

14/1 (7%)

There’s limited or no value betting contenders. You can see that the nine teams listed already add up to a 120% win equivalent. Sports books build a universe larger than 100% to create a house edge.

For Thursday’s TV showcase, sharps would likely come in hard on the visiting underdog if public action on the Pack drives a midweek line of 4.5 up to 5. Green Bay only outgained Denver

312-310 last week, needing a 3-0 turnover edge to cover. Philadelphia outgained Detroit 373-288, but lost the turnover category 2-0 and allowed a kickoff return touchdown.

Turnovers and special teams points are fickle in this league. Green Bay currently leads the NFL in turnover differential at 6. Philadelphia is tied for seventh worst at - 2. Reasonable to assume those will eventually tighten up given overall team quality.

Do Rodgers and the Packers have another championship run in them? That will likely depend on the validity of other top threats. The Rams don’t look like an unstoppable juggernaut any more. The Cowboys haven’t faced a real threat yet.

The Saints may have to dig out of a hole if Teddy Bridgewater can’t keep them marching (Dallas visits New Orleans Sunday night at 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC).

Undefeated Green Bay has control of its destiny. There are four months of destiny yet to control in this competitive conference.

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